Paleontologist Gunter Bechly said it so well in an item in Evolution News published online on June 12, 2021. Entitled “Darwin’s ‘Abominable Mystery’ is Not Alone: Gaps Everywhere!” , Dr. Bechly declared: “The abrupt origin of flowering plants is by no means an exception to the rule. Instead, it is representative of a general pattern in the history of life and the fossil record. In all groups of organisms, in all regions of the Earth, and over all periods of Earth history, new groups and new body plans appear abruptly in the fossil record, mostly without any potential precursors [ancestors] in the older layers.” He later gives examples of these sudden appearances: “the same holds for the origin of life, the origin of photosynthesis, the origin of the Ediacaran biota in the Avalon Explosion, the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event, the Siluro-Devonian Terrestrial Revolution of land plants and land animals, the Devonian Nekton Revolution and Odontode Explosion, the Carboniferous Explosion of winged insects, the Triassic explosions of tetrapods, marine reptiles, flying reptiles, and dinosaurs, the Cretacous Terrestrial Revolution, the Paleogene origin of butterflies, the Big Bang of birds” … etc. etc. Wow! You would think that this situation would be discouraging to evolutionary scientists.
The late Stephen Jay Gould and colleagues about 1980 made themselves very unpopular with some fellow scientists when they talked about “punctuated equilibrium.” This was the idea that most groups of organisms appear suddenly in the fossil record and then stay unchanged in the rock layers until eventually at higher levels they disappear. Gould of course never abandoned his support for evolution in spite of what he observed.
But it is the lack of potential ancestors which is a particularly noteworthy point. Lack of ancestors is a clear indication that these creatures did not evolve but rather were intelligently designed or created. Dr. Jerry Bergman’s book Wonderful and Bizarre Life Forms in Creation discusses many familiar creatures, and all of them appear suddenly in the rock record with no hint of ancestors.